Monday, September 15, 2008

Life and Death, Rock and Roll

Ian texted me Friday night from work at the bar: "Copland tonight."

Sgt. Aponte, the recently fallen New Haven officer, was waked Friday night two blocks from Rudy's. So it was no surprise to anyone that the bar was packed that evening with many a sweet 'stache playing the likes of (eek!) Nickelback on the jukebox.

Ian didn't have many nice things to say about their song selections the next morning at the breakfast table. I tried to see it a different way: "Maybe Aponte loved Nickelback," I suggested. "I mean, one of their own just died. I think they're entitled to play whatever they want."

Then again, in 10 years behind the bar, Ian's heard just about everything--and music is the least of it. (Bartenders hear every conversation and know everything about your life. Some might even know more about your life than you do.) The past couple of years, however, the music has gotten much worse--ever since the bar replaced its standard, well-loved jukebox with a new, soulless "internet" one.

Once upon a time the jukebox at Rudy's was legendary. It featured carefully chosen albums (and mix CDs) that offered a wide range in genre (from jazz and classic rock to punk and hardcore) and popularity (from corporate rock and one-hit-wonders to local bands and obscure B-sides). To strike a balance like that on any jukebox requires talent. It's an art. In fact, I've enountered two such jukeboxes in my life: The first being at Rudy's; The second is at 7B's, a bar on the corner of 7th Street and Avenue B in New York. The bar actually has a different name, but everyone calls it 7B's. I haven't been there in ages, but I digress.

The new jukebox at Rudy's features just about every song you could ever want to hear. For a price, you can play pretty much anything. There is an upside to this: Deeper tracks from less-popular albums are available to hear. But few people appreciate this option. Or maybe I'm just being cranky about change. After all, I don't go to Rudy's very much anymore. I've scaled back to going there just a handful of times a year, preferring to hit the likes of Firehouse 12 on the now-rare occasion of going out for a drink. And at Firehouse 12, I can get a good glass of wine. But I do like going to Rudy's once in a while, and when I do, I miss the old jukebox.

This past weekend I didn't go to any bars. I stayed home and sewed all night on Friday, while Ian slung beers for cops. I sewed the kitchen valances; yesterday I finished sewing the curtains for the kids' room, as well as one for the mudroom by the fish bowl and the turtle tank. Since I'm pretty much done with curtains, I need to move on to something new. Next up: A few purses from Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing. And then I'm onto sewing my first quilt--a loosey, goosey, easy-breezy pattern from the same book. After all the coasters, napkins, make-up bags, change-purses, and curtains that I've sewn, it's time to branch out beyond stitching all things square and rectangular.

And while driving to yoga class yesterday, I saw the best thing: Two boys--most likely brothers, about ages 8 and 10--were on the corner of Cold Spring and Livingston Streets. Their bikes were parked about 4 feet from them, and they were having a contest to see who could spit the farthest--and reach their bike. It made my day.

Also, a word of unsolicited advice: If you're having trouble getting motivated to clean your house, throw on some Zeppelin. I did this on Saturday. It's been a while since I felt the need to hear Zeppelin (Renee pretty much killed them for me in high school), but Saturday morning I threw on their fourth (and untitled) album, and rocked out while dusting and vacuuming. "Misty Mountain Hop" and "When the Levee Breaks" sounded really good Saturday morning while I cleaned and Hurricane Ike raged in Texas. Maybe it's because I threw vinyl on the turntable. It's the only way to listen to most anything, really.

When the Levee Breaks.... Hard to believe that was already three years ago.

Happy Monday.

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